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North Pinellas History | A look back

Dec. 16, 1933: Boat fire one of several recent blazes for firemen

The only call sent in to the Fire Department yesterday was for assistance in subduing a blaze on a cabin cruiser at the Brumby marine ways, N Osceola Avenue, which was started by a motor backfiring and igniting gasoline in the bilge of the craft, the Argyle of Tampa.

The flames were extinguished without damage.

Clearwater firemen, however, have had plenty of work at grass fires lately. Thursday afternoon they were called to put out a grass fire that was getting into a citrus grove on Palmetto Street, west of Betty Lane.

There have been many grove fires this month. The records kept by Peter Treola, assistant fire chief, show that there were 11 fires that threatened groves so far in December within the corporate limits.

Nineteen woods fires happened in November. Several of these did much damage to citrus trees. Among them was the fire that almost destroyed the grove belonging to City Clerk Satterfield near Safety Harbor. Neighbors were successful in keeping the flames out of another grove owned by Attorney John Polhill in the same neighborhood.

Fire Chief Luke Martin calls attention to the importance of plowing fire guards around groves to prevent woods fires from ruining trees.

Dec. 10, 1924

Stolen jewels found buried at palmetto

CLEARWATER — A beautiful lavaliere hung about the neck of a water boy attracted the attention of F.J. Lee when he went out to some property he was having cleared on Saturday.

Questioning the boy, Lee started an investigation that unearthed a find of hidden treasure. The laborers had come upon a cache of jewelry under a palmetto that netted a varied assortment of valuables.

An inventory shows, among other articles, a small but valuable lavaliere, a high school ring, K. of P. button, a platinum ring among other finger rings, several wristwatches and trinkets of value.

The jewelry recovered was taken to the Sheriff's Office and turned over to Melton Tinny.

When Deputy Sheriff Jack Strictland saw the loot and was told that it had been found north of Stevenson's Creek, he solved the mystery at once. John Snyder, a young fellow of Clearwater, was arrested last winter and charged with entering homes in the county seat.

He was tried, convicted and sentenced and is serving time for burglary.

Following a confession by Snyder, the young man was taken to a spot on the land now being cleared by Lee to locate jewelry he claimed he had hidden there.

The place was searched but nothing was found.

Dec. 18, 1933

Fire flushes out hundreds of rabbits

CLEARWATER — There was a big fire in the "prairie" several blocks east of the courthouse and City Hall on Saturday afternoon.

Flames from the tall grass endangered several dwellings on the west side of Greenwood Avenue and the Fire Department was sent out to save them. The firemen had a busy afternoon and were unable to entirely extinguish the blazing muck.

An unusual feature of the fire was that hundreds of rabbits were driven from cover and were hunted down by local boys. There were rabbits galore.

Dec. 11, 1936

Execution just part of duty, sheriff says

CLEARWATER — The duty of pulling the switches that will send two men to their deaths in the electric chair at Raiford assigned to Sheriff E.G. Cunningham does not hang heavily on the mind of that officer.

Cunningham, who will electrocute James Walker and Richard Williams, slayers of Joseph Yasmin, St. Petersburg grocer, Monday morning, said that he has "not even thought about it."

He will leave for Raiford at noon Sunday unless a last-minute reprieve is granted the condemned men, he said.

"I think no more of the job of pulling those switches than I think of summoning some man to jury duty," the sheriff said. "It is just a duty of my office, and I will carry it out without the slightest emotion. The job is not one into which emotion should be allowed to enter."

>>Looking back

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

Dec. 16, 1933: Boat fire one of several recent blazes for firemen 12/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 9:58pm]
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